Film icon Mirren gets Bafta accolade from 'grandson' William

LONDON - British film queen Helen Mirren on Sunday thanked her former teacher after receiving Bafta's highest accolade from Prince William at a glittering ceremony in London on Sunday.

Mirren, who has played Queen Elizabeth II on stage and film, fittingly received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship from the monarch's grandson, in honour of her 50-year career.

Dressed in a navy blue gown with chiffon sleeves, Mirren brought the ceremony to a close when she accepted the award, telling guests including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio of the influence of recently deceased teacher Alys Welding.

She said Welding "alone was the person who encouraged me to be an actor" before quoting from William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep," said the 68-year-old Oscar winner. "My little life is rounded with this honour, thank you very much indeed."

Recognising her previous roles as the Queen, William called Mirren "an extremely talented British actress who I should probably call granny" as he presented the award.

Mirren later said backstage that William had been "charming". Previous recipients of the academy's most prestigious award include Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese and British horror legend Christopher Lee.

Bafta chairman John Willis called Mirren "one of the most outstanding actresses of her generation". "Dame Helen's incredibly succesful career is testament to the determination, dedication, and skill she brings to each of her roles," he added.

Mirren has won one Oscar, for her 2006 portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen, and has also won four Baftas, three Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards during a distinguished career spanning almost half a century.

The Queen recognised Mirren's services to the performing arts when she awarded the actress a damehood at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2003.